By Idah Mhetu
GOVERNMENT departments need to stick to their budgets if the country is to realise its goal of turning around the economy, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Mnangagwa has projected himself as a reformer and adopted austerity measures that have left citizens on the brink.
He has however been criticised for not doing enough to rein in public expenditure including his own travel in hired luxury planes.
In his keynote address at the launch of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)’s awareness campaign co-hosted by the National Prosecuting Authority in Harare Wednesday, Mnangagwa said reducing government expenditure was critical to his goals.
“The importance of making the most out of our budgets and minimising expenditure is paramount in our quest to build a better and more prosperous Zimbabwe,” Mnangagwa said.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a tailspin since former President Robert Mugabe’s government sponsored chaotic land seizures at the turn of the century that wreaked the country’s agricultural sector, then the backbone of the economy.
Since then, the country has lost its official currency and industry has slumped to a shell of its former self.
Mnangagwa, since taking over in November 2017, has been campaigning for reform in the economy.
The Zanu PF leader is grappling with corruption in government institutions and last month allowed the arrest of former Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira as well as a top aide in his office, Douglas Tapfuma.
Both are languishing in remand prison awaiting trial for corruption related cases.
Mnangagwa added that cases of corruption in procurement of goods especially within government departments must end.
“Accordingly we do not expect any cases of corruption and procurement as we move forward. Those seized with the procurement function, must abandon and forsake the old ways of doing things by adopting the highest ethical professional standards in undertaking public pronouncements. Our nation can no longer be held back,” said Mnangagwa adding, “there will be no sacred cows.”
Recently, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) put in place new provisions for procurement officers to make them more answerable and transparent in carrying out their duties.
The new rules, which include a code of conduct, were introduced in a Praz Circular Number 6, dated May 3, 2019, which will now require procurement officers to submit a signed undertaking to commit to given ethics.
The undertaking is in accordance with Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDPA) Act and comes as government ramps up efforts to stamp out corruption.